By Mbatjiua Ngavirue
Organisers say the recently held Okakarara Trade Fair was a great success, with participation by exhibitors and attendance figures both exceeding expectations.
The show attracted a total of 170 exhibitors – including livestock exhibitors – and 27,000 visitors over the three days of the fair.
Chairperson of the Organising Committee Jackson Hindjou said the trade fair set a higher standard than organisers ever expected, especially being the first such event ever held at the town.
“Twenty-seven thousand visitors is very good for such a small town and it exceeded all our expectations. Holding the fair proved to be a learning process, and we hope to do even better next year,” Hindjou said.
Minister of Trade and Industry Immanuel Ngatjizeko officially opened the fair, pledging continued support to the SME sector and the various trade fair societies around the country.
He said his ministry endeavoured to offer assistance wherever possible, while utilising trade fairs as a platform for its outreach programmes.
“To this end, I am happy to announce that the Ministry of Trade and Industry has sponsored the participation of 41 SME operators to this event, to the amount of N$123 000.
“We believe that this modest contribution will go a long way in encouraging more people to become productive citizens and to contribute meaningfully to the aspirations of Vision 2030,” he said.
The ministry had furthermore increased its representation in all 13 regions of the country.
It had also identified business development consultants in all regions in order to assist the SME sector to better articulate its business plans to raise capital.
The sites and premises programme continues to make available new space for the SME sector for the manufacturing and marketing of new products.
Recently, the Ministry of Trade and Industry also renovated the abattoir in Okakarara town, which according to the feedback he had received had brought new economic life to the town.
The ministry was also working with the Okakarara Town Council to identify new capital projects that could stimulate the growth of enterprise and eventual diversification of the Okakarara economy.
“It is common knowledge that this area has historically concentrated on cattle farming, but it has now become imperative to look at other economic activities in order to ensure the sustainable and diversified economic growth of this area,” he said.
Mayor of Okakarara Tjatjitirani Kandukira praised the trade fair as “excellent and brilliantly organised”.
He announced that Okakarara has commissioned a feasibility study funded by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to consider the possibility of constructing a new business complex at the town.
The study found that Okakarara has an untapped potential for business, leading the town council to intensify its efforts to promote the town.
Animal auctions that take place in Okakarara bring in an annual average income of N$30 million each year.
He thanked both Bank Windhoek and First National Bank for the “bold step” they took to open branches at Okakarara, while others considered such a move risky.
Kandukira said people had confidentially informed him that the two small branches were exceeding their weekly quotas, which showed the potential for doing business at Okakarara.